## Property Taxes, Part II

by Coy Holcombe.

First, congratulations to the varsity volleyball team on their victory last night against Canton. The Lady Bulldogs are now 2-0 in district and will face Van this Friday in Eustace.

Last year at this time, we reviewed how your property tax bills are calculated. I think that it would be appropriate to again examine the calculations involved in this process. To begin with, taxpayers in EISD are offered two separate exemptions for homesteads: the state exemption of \$15,000 and the optional local exemption of 20%. Many school districts have eliminated their optional homestead exemption. EISD is one of the few districts in our area that continues to offer this exemption. The optional homestead exemption allows 20% of the appraised value of the property to be deducted prior to the state mandated \$15,000 deduction. To see how this works, let’s look at an example.

Suppose we were paying taxes on our home that has a value of \$100,000. Assuming that this property is declared a homestead, we would be entitled to two exemptions: the optional 20% homestead exemption and the \$15,000 homestead exemption from the state. The exemptions would be calculated as follows:
20% Optional Exemption is taken first. \$100,000 x 20% = \$20,000. So the optional homestead exemption would deduct \$20,000 from the taxable value of this home. \$100,000 – \$20,000 = \$80,000.
Next, the state homestead exemption of \$15,000 is deducted: \$80,000 – \$15,000 = \$65,000. So the taxable value for school district taxes on this \$100,000 home is \$65,000.
To calculate the school property taxes owed on this \$100,000 home, we would now do the following:
Take the taxable value after all exemptions: \$65,000. Divide this amount by 100. This would give us 650. Multiply this figure by the district tax rate of \$1.258: 650 x \$1.258 = \$817.70. So, a taxpayer in our district with a home valued at \$100,000 would pay about \$820.00 in school property taxes. Again, this example is assuming that the homeowner has declared this property to be their homestead. There are also other exemptions that may apply to certain individuals.
If EISD did not offer the optional 20% homestead exemption, the taxes on the above property would be approximately \$1070.00 (\$100,000 – \$15,000 = \$85,000 ÷100 x 1.258). If you have any questions concerning your property taxes, please contact Debbie Myers (425 – 5232 or dmyers@eustaceisd.net). Please do not hesitate to email me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net with your questions or comments.

## Property Taxes

by Coy Holcombe.

Soon, residents in our district will be receiving property tax statements from EISD. The tax rate for our district is made up of two separate components: maintenance and operations ( M & O) and interest and sinking (I & S). The M & O portion helps pay for the daily operation of the district. Salaries, utilities, supplies, travel, and contracted services are all paid partially from the M & O tax rate. The state also supplies M & O funding for districts.

The I & S rate pays for the voter approved bonds that the district has sold. While the state provides some additional funding in this area, the vast majority for bond payments comes from local taxpayers.

For the 2009-2010 school year, the EISD Board of Trustees has set the overall tax rate at \$1.258. The M & O rate is \$1.04 and the I & S rate is \$.2180. These rates are exactly the same as in 2008-2009. Below is a chart that compares the tax rates for our district from 2000 through the current tax year:

Tax Rate Comparison

 M & O I & S Total 2000 \$1.303 \$.062 \$1.365 2001 \$1.32 \$.07 \$1.39 2002 \$1.32 \$.07 \$1.39 2003 \$1.38 \$.01 \$1.39 2004 \$1.41 \$.06 \$1.47 2005 \$1.45 \$.22 \$1.67 2006 \$1.3257 \$.1918 \$1.5175 2007 \$1.04 \$.22804 \$1.26804 2008 \$1.04 \$.218 \$1.258 2009 \$1.04 \$.218 \$1.258

A couple of notes: In 2003, the overall tax rate stayed the same as the previous two years; however, in order to maximize our state funding, the I & S rate was lowered and the M & O rate was increased. In 2005, there was a substantial increase in the M & O rate. This was the year that bonds were sold for the classroom construction projects. In 2007, there is a sharp decrease in the M & O rate. This was the year that the new state funding system went into place. If you ever have questions about property taxes or property tax rates, please feel free to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

## This Week

by Coy Holcombe.

Congratulations to the varsity volleyball team on their victory over Wills Point on Friday. The Lady Bulldogs are now 1-0 in district play.

This week’s activities:

Monday – MS volleyball vs Mineola – 4:30; Band Practice – 7:00 PM

Tuesday – Volleyball vs Canton; MS Football at Crandall (note that this game has been moved to Crandall)

Thursday – Intermediate cookie dough fund raiser starts;

Friday – End 1st six weeks; Volleyball vs. Van; Football is open

Saturday – Mesquite Marching Festival

Reminder that October 5 is a school holiday. The Middle School volleyball game scheduled for October 5 has been moved to Thursday, October 8.

## Today's Events

by Coy Holcombe.

First, I want to welcome home all the alumni attending today’s homecoming activities. It’s good to have you back.

Second, we have a full day of activities:

• Homecoming Pep Rally – 9:00 AM – Bulldog Stadium – Everyone’s invited.
• District volleyball game against Wills Point -E. L. Kirk Gymnasium- Varsity will play at 4:30. While this is our first district game, it is an extremely important game. I urge everyone to come out and support our Lady Bulldogs!!
• Homecoming Activities start at 7:00 PM – Bulldog Stadium
• Homecoming Football Game kicks off at 7:30 PM
• The Mighty Bulldog Marching Band will be performing all during the game and at halftime.
• The Bulldog Cheerleaders will be providing support for the Bulldogs throughout the game.

Finally, I want to thank the Booster Club for all their hard work in preparing for this homecoming. Also, I would like to thank the EISD maintenance department for working to get everything ready for today. I encourage everyone to come out tonight to support our volleyball team, football team, homecoming nominees, band, and cheerleaders.

## Evacuation Drill

by Coy Holcombe.

Yesterday, all the campuses participated in a district wide evacuation drill. During this drill, we work on getting all students and all staff in vehicles in case we need to leave this area. We have worked on this drill for the past several years. I hope that we never have to actually utilize this drill, but I think that it is important to plan and practice for such an emergency.

While the drill yesterday was a scheduled drill, we were still able to get all students and staff in vehicles and assembled at the football field in under 15 minutes. When you think that we have around 1480 students and around 250 staff members, even for a scheduled drill, that is a remarkable accomplishment.

If the district ever needed to actually evacuate, each department in the district has a specific role to play. Everything revolves around getting our children out safely, providing for their continued safety during transportation and at the final destination, and for reuniting students with their parents.

I want to thank all the students, parents, and staff members for their hard work in making this drill a success and for understanding that while we hope that we may never have to utilize such a move, preparation and practice are key components to success.

## Flu Update

by Coy Holcombe.

Last Friday, the district sent home a letter to parents with updated information on the flu. The letter is attached to this entry. While we have had some confirmed cases of Type A influenza, we are not seeing a dramatic number of absences at the campuses. Yesterday, we were a little above average with respect to absences at the High School; however, the other campuses did not show an above average absentee rate. We know that this can change very quickly. EISD will continue to monitor the number of absences on a daily basis.

I encourage you to read the attached letter. It contains simple suggestions for limiting the spread of the flu. Also, please visit our homepage for additional flu-related information. The number one method for limiting the spread of flu is still frequent hand washing.

Besides the flu, we have also had a stomach virus making its rounds among students and adults at all campuses.While unpleasant, it usually runs its course within 24 hours.

EISD will continue to monitor the flu situation carefully and we will pass on updates to parents as the situation warrants. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net. If you have medical specific questions, please contact our district nurse, Pam Martin, at pmartin@eustaceisd.net.

## Parent Conference and Activities this Week

by Coy Holcombe.

First, congratulations to the Eustace Bulldog varsity football team for their victory over Quitman on Friday. The Bulldogs won the hard fought contest 12-8. The band and cheerleaders provided support for the Bulldogs and entertained the crowd all through the game.

Attached is a brochure for the Parent Conference to be held at the Region 7 Education Service Center on October 27, 2009. The conference is free and lunch will be provided. All parents are invited to attend this conference. While there is no charge for attending, Region 7 is requesting that anyone interested in this conference to register by October 19. Please see the attached file for information on enrolling and to get an overview of the conference.

Activities scheduled for this week include:

Monday – MS Volleyball at Kemp; Band Practice 7 – 9 PM

Tuesday – VB at North Mesquite; Please note that the MS football games originally scheduled for Tuesday have been moved to Thursday night.

Thursday – JV Football at Ferris 5:30; MS Football vs Ferris at Eustace 5:30; Bonfire – 8:30 PM

Friday – Homecoming Pep Rally; VB vs. Wills Point (please note that this game has been moved to Eustace); Varsity Football vs. Ferris

Saturday – Cross Country at Rowlett; MS Volleyball Eustace Tournament

## Today's Activities

by Coy Holcombe.

We have several activities today:

Freedom Parade – 8:30 – Football Field

Volleyball at Quitman – 4:30

Football at Quitman – 7:30

Tomorrow our cross country runners travel to Kilgore.

Schedule change for next week: The MS football games originally scheduled for Tuesday have been moved to Thursday. The Middle School games will start at 5:30 and be played in Eustace. The JV football game start time has been moved to 5:30. The JV game will be played in Ferris.

Next week is also homecoming week.

## Certified Payments

by Coy Holcombe.

Tuesday, the EISD Board of Trustees approved using Certified Payments as the credit card vendor for tax payments for the 09-10 school year. Last year, we had these payments set up through PaySchools. Changes in PaySchools fee assessments made it uneconomical for EISD to continue to use that company for credit card payments for taxes.

PaySchools charges EISD 3.5% of the total amount charged through its system during a given month. For example, if there was \$3,000 of charges through PaySchools for September, then the district would be assessed a service charge of  \$3,000 x 3.5% or \$105. At the beginning of the 08-09 school year, PaySchools was set up to so that a graduated service charge was in place: the more the charge amount, the more the service charge. In this way, the district could at least break even each month on the service fees. We were not looking to make any profit from the service fees.

During the 08-09 school year, PaySchools changed the way they allowed service fees to be assessed to users. Instead of a sliding scale, PaySchools went to a flat charge for all orders regardless of the amount. While most of the charges through PaySchools were for lunch accounts, we did have several taxpayers take advantage of the service and pay their tax bills through PaySchools. Since most of the payments through PaySchools are small (less than \$100), the district decided on a flat service charge of \$1.50 per transaction. Because of the change in service charges, we had to take tax payments off of the PaySchools account. The reason is as follows:

A tax payer makes a \$5,000 payment through PaySchools. The district will be charged \$5,000 x 3.5% = \$175.00 from PaySchools for this transaction. Our service fee for this transaction is \$1.50. So, the district lost \$173.50 on this transaction. Through PaySchools it would be impossible for the district to break even on large transactions.

Certified Payments takes care of this situation by including the service charge in their transaction. EISD does not have to worry about assessing a service fee that is too small or too large. Instead the service fee is built into the overall transaction. Certified Payments will charge 2.5% of the amount charged. The minimum service fee will be \$2.00 through Certified Payments. Instructions for using Certified Payments will be included in tax bills received by residents of the district. If you have any questions regarding Certified Payments, please contact our tax collector, Debbie Myers, at 903-425-5232.